View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Thursday 21 June

The summer solstice occurred at 9 minutes past midnight, and as you will have gathered from previous postings it was far from dark. In fact, 70 minutes later, when the darkest moment of the night occurs, it still was not fully dark to the north. Two hours later, day was breaking merrily, at around 3.20 am. Mind you, we're at 58 degrees latitude north, so we do get some darkness. You go to Shetland, at 60 degrees north, and it does not get dark, full stop.

Looking north at 1.23 am

Dawn breaking at 3.23 am

Our ferry had a spot of mechanical bother, meaning that the last of yesterday's and the first of today's return sailings to and from Ullapool (on the mainland) were cancelled. Apparently, people had to sleep in the ferry terminal or on the boat. The Isle of Lewis finally departed at 3.50pm, two hours late. As I type this (at 10.20pm), she is just docking.

I watched the address to both Houses of Parliament in London by the Burmese pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who was recently elected to parliament in Rangoon after spending two decades under house arrest. Her father, it turns out, was instrumental in bringing about independence for Burma from the British in 1948. He was assassinated a year beforehand. Burma's democracy was toppled in a military coup in 1962, bringing in a junta that rules to date with an iron fist and unbridled cruelty. I hope, with her, that Burma can once more be welcomed into the fold of democratic nations, given time. It will certainly not be for lack of effort on her part.